Donnie Iris – Pittsburgh Rock Icon

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Donnie Iris:

First off, can you tell readers what you’ve been up to lately and about your new album and upcoming gigs?

Starting sometime after the first of the year, we will start working on a new CD.

You’ve been a stalwart of Pittsburgh’s music scene for many years. How did you get started and what advice would you give other local musicians who want to make it as well?

I started singing at a very early age. My mother played piano, and she taught me how to sing.

You’ve been a stalwart of Pittsburgh’s music scene for many years. How did you get started and what advice would you give other local musicians who want to make it as well?

My advice to people who would like to get into the music scene would be to work hard and long, whether just singing or playing or writing. And don’t quit.

Many see the life of a musician as all bright lights and glamour, but it’s a tough business. What’s been the most difficult aspect of the music business for you and how have you been able to overcome it and stay active for so long?

The toughest part of the business has been the financial aspect. It sometimes can be very difficult to make a living in music. Many artists give up because they can’t make ends meet just doing music. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to follow my heart and make a living at music, VERY fortunate!

Who influenced you most in terms of your approach to music and how have you been able to use that influence to create your own sound as opposed to just “copying” another’s?
 
My influences have been varied. People I looked up to and influenced me most were Marvin Gaye, Tony Bennett, The Beatles, and many more.

The Pittsburgh music scene has been growing in prominence but hasn’t launched that huge local artist recently. Is anything missing from the local scene to foster more musical talent?

I think the Pittsburgh music scene is alive and well. Many wonderful artists occupy this area. Whiz Khalifa is a prime example.

On to sports….are you a sports fan – and if so, what teams to you follow most and just how avid a fan are you?

I am a huge Pittsburgh sports fan! Steelers, Pirates, Penguins. It don’t get no better!

Have you had any experiences playing for/around some of the area athletes or hanging out with them? If so, what were those experiences and players like?

I played at Deisel acouple of times and hung with Big Ben, Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith. Great guys.

Any last thoughts for readers?

Parting words for my Pittsburghers: We are really lucky to live here! My take is that Pittsburgh is truly a special place.

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